Michael Witzel witzel at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Wed Nov 26 13:14:12 UTC 1997

As is well known -- bigger is not always better ...

Of course, we should have and open, democratic exchange of views by all
genuinely interested ("bone fide") persons. No censureship. I have argued
that already about a year ago or so.

However, it does not mean that, even in the humanities, "anything
goes", as in present public academic (postmodern) climate.
As in Math,  2+2 remains 4, (except in 1984, where it is 5).
One can, of course, *imagine* it to be 3.

If, for argument's sake, someone says, the Rgvedic word Pramaganda is
Aryan (Old Indo-Aryan, Indo-Iranian, Indo-European)  - note the pra-
prefix! - then this word not fit any rule of OIA, IIr., IE etc.
etymology, grammar (word formation) and so on.

To say differently - we have seen many such arguments - would mean to
rewrite, personally, a lot of linguistics, etc.  The problem is whether
one has the time and inclination to counter-argue such a case, reverting
to basics, e.g. IE root structure, (incidentally not well described or
solved in the recent discussion!)

For the rest:

If we want to be unregulated, there is, apart from pushing the delete
button, not much one can do...

INSTEAD, what I wanted to propose is simply - restraint... (yamana!)

(1)  If your fingers itch, by all means, write your message, but put it
into "postpone" mode. (No topic is THAT hot!)

(2)  Then, sleep on it. If you still like it (and yourself) next morning
and if your fingers still itch, press the "send" button!

(and then, watch helplessly how your message gets hijacked and diverted,
with spin-off into so many minor or unrelated topics)

-- all of which I do here:


Michael Witzel                       witzel at
Wales Professor of Sanskrit
Dept. of Sanskrit & Indian Studies,
Harvard University         
53 Church Street                     (Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies)
Cambridge MA 02138, USA

phone: 1- 617 - 495 3295 (voice & messages), 496 8570, fax 617 - 496 8571

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